The world's second largest container shipping line, Mediterranean Shipping Company, is to start an Oceania Express Service with the Port of Tauranga as its only New Zealand port call.
The Oceania Express port rotation will be: Melbourne - Sydney - Brisbane - Tauranga - Balboa - Long Beach - Melbourne).
"MSC has recognised the Port of Tauranga as a major New Zealand hub, and we plan to trans-ship cargo from six other New Zealand ports utilising our three other services currently operating in New Zealand (Capricorn, Kiwi and Pacific Island services)," MSC's national operations director Mark Godfrey says.
Port of Tauranga chief executive Mark Cairns said the announcement was fantastic news. "We are delighted that MSC have chosen Tauranga as their New Zealand hub port and this announcement provides another tangible example of the structural change that is occurring in the New Zealand port sector.
MSC's Oceania Express service will start in October, he said. "Along with the five other new services recently announced we now forecast container volumes to increase by approximately 20-25%, compared to year ended June 2011, with approximately 40% of this increase being attributed to trans-shipped cargo."